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A Revolution in Childbirth

Over the last century, a revolution has taken place in childbirth, and the pendulum is swinging towards natural birth, with the back-up of medical expertise where needed, but we are beginning to realize that that need is less than previously thought.

A hundred and fifty to two hundred years ago, there was little if any help for women in childbirth. Over the centuries such herbal knowledge that there was had been withheld from women in labour and, even when anaesthetics were discovered, they were used in surgical operations but not to relieve pain in labour.

History of Natural Childbirth

Before they’re pregnant, many women think they’ll take ‘the soft option’ and have a caesarean. Then they become pregnant and their hormones do somersaults. They read some more about caesareans and realize that maybe they aren’t the soft option they’d thought, either for themselves or their babies, and it dawns on them that there’s only one way out, and people say it’s painful.

The other thing that happens when you’re pregnant is that people immediately feel entitled to express an opinion and give you advice. You are inundated with horror stories about other people’s labours, or other people’s wives’ labours, or other people’s sister’s labours, etc. etc. etc. Somewhere along the line somebody mentions that their sister’s cousin’s mother-in-law’s step-daughter did this thing called HypnoBirthing and she raved about it. So you go home and google it. This is how it all began.

Childbirth Through The Ages

Victorian father & child hypnobirthing

Since the beginning of time there have been myths and old wives's tales surrounding pregnancy and childbirth, as well as genuine practices which we would today consider barbaric or just plain strange! So we thought it would be fun to take a look back to see how our ancestors coped.

 

"The better the witch, the better the midwife"

Through most of history, men have not been involved in childbirth. Instead, it has been strictly women only, with midwives, family members or neighbours assisting with your delivery. But in Medieval times, midwives were often thought to be witches as well, so a suspicious Church decreed that all midwives had to be licensed by a bishop. They also had to swear an oath that they would not use magic.

Things had moved on by the more enlightened Victorian era. Male doctors could now examine you during your pregnancy and be present at the birth. But in keeping with these modest times, he could not look at you, only touch!

How Childbirth Hypnotherapy Began

The fame of Hypnobirthing is spreading fast by word of mouth, simply because it works so well, and that’s how it has always spread.

Probably the person accredited with the origin of the term Hypnobirthing is Michelle Leclaire O'Neill in 1987 [www.leclairemethod.com], who authored books on the subject including "Hypnobirthing the Original Method". Her work was based partly on previous research be English obstetrician Dr. Grantly Dick Reid.

Another follower of Dick Reid was Marie Mongan, who when she had her first baby, practiced Dick-Reed's techniques and became a convert.

Mongan's story makes interesting reading.  She had her first baby in hospital as was the generally accepted practice in America, then as now, and when she arrived she announced to the nurse that she was planning to have a natural birth. With a superior smirk the nurse maintained that she would ‘soon be screaming like the rest of them’ and left her alone in a room with a clock so that she could ‘time her pains’. Husbands certainly were not allowed.

KGHypnobirthing has been featured in:

The Sunday Times The Guardian Radio 4 Woman's Hour Prima Baby & Pregnancy OK! Mother & Baby  The Telegraph Daily Mail

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